Parish of Pedralbes
Suggestions from Msgr. Jaume González-Agàpito for prayer and for individual preparation
Year A, Fifth Sunday of Lent, former First Sunday of Passion, March 26, 2023
Ez 37,12-14; Rm 8, 8-11; Jn 11, 1-45.
The God of Life
- “I open your graves.” Lenten weather grows and increases, the closer it gets to the passion of Jesus, the hope of the penitent sinner.
- Also when one has died spiritually because of him, the living God is greater than death and his power, stronger than all earthly corruption.
- Nowhere in the Old Testament has this ever been so magnificently expressed as in today’s first reading that recounts the vision of Ezekiel. The prophet sees the bones, scattered in the valley, clothed with flesh and rise in a powerful army. “God, says Wisdom, is not rejoicing at the disappearance of the living, he has created all beings to exist” (Sab 1, 13s.).
- Israel has precipitated itself into death with the rejection of the living God, but God’s vitality is stronger and can restore life and strength to dead and dry bones.
The resurrection of Christ
- In the Old Testament there is the prophecy about the future of the people, but it becomes an unexpected reality through the resurrection of Christ.
- But, in the second reading, we talk about the individual. Man must die, but by the force of the resurrection of Jesus and his Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, he has the sure hope that God, also through that Spirit, “will give life to our mortal bodies.”
- The condition, the epistle says, is that we do not let ourselves be led by the flesh, that is, by what is human and transitory, but “by the Spirit of God, Father, and of Christ.”
- It is then that, precisely because of this Spirit, the germ of eternal divine life already lives in us and that we have a ‘cave’, so to speak, an entrance in the hand, to the life of God.
3. No penitent Christian, who expiates for his sins, should do it with sadness, but in the joy of cooperating, with Christ, to life.
The resurrection of Lazarus
- The resurrection of Lazarus is the last sign of Jesus before his passion and also becomes the immediate reason for his arrest (Jn 11, 47-56).
- Jesus goes to the meeting of death and wants to see, before, death with his own eyes. Therefore, he lets Lazarus die, without immediately heeding the pleas of his friends. He wants to be before the tomb of the friend, closed with a stone, and cry, “ moved, sad or angry” or whatever you want to translate the Greek word, by the terrible strength of this “last enemy” (1 Cor 15, 26), who will only be killed in his own death on the cross, when he will like it in the abyss of abandonment and rejection.
- Without these tears in front of the friend’s grave he would not be the real man he really is. And then each movement follows another precedent.
- First he orders the slay to be removed, against the objection that it already stinks due to its state of decomposition.
- Then he prays to his Father – since every miracle that the Son does is seen as a gift from the Father, never as a spell of magic but as a force that consecrates and accredits his mission.
- Follow the order given to a dead man: “Lázaro, go out,” against all common sense. His power over death is part of his mission, it is the manifestation and a force that he possesses “full of power,” when he works in deep union with his Father and exhaling the Holy Spirit, life-giving and regenerating.
- Nor will your Church lack this life-giving power of Christ. Without the constant outpouring of the Spirit of God, he would die. Death will not be the fate of Adam’s children, but the revelation of God’s last concern, in Christ Jesus, to men. Only because he assumes that death with obedient love, he can proclaim himself “resurrection and life” and pronounce the sentence that will eliminate death: “Whoseer who believes in me, even if he dies, will live
The life of Christians
- . In the lives of Christians, the certainty of Christ’s power over death is always present. Power that dares to face not only with physical death but with eternal death. It is in the victory of Christ on the cross, over death, that Christians experience the redemptive love of God: “The love of God has been manifested among us when he sent his only Son into the world so that we could live thanks to him” (1 Jn 4:9).
- Thus, “surrendered to death to forgive our sins and resurrected to make us righteous.” (Rm 4:25), Christ is a guarantee of life and glory.
- This “gift has no comparison with the lack, because if so many have died for the lack of one, much more has spread abundantly over all the grace of God and the gift of grace that comes through one man, Jesus Christ” (Rm 5,15).